Counter-EffortsJuly 9, 2001 12:00 by ManagingTeam
If you care about how Israel is portrayed in the world press, your involvement and activism is now more important than ever.
Anti-Israel organizations are attempting to mount a counter-attack to the work of HonestReporting and other like-minded organizations.
But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what James Zogby, head of the Arab lobby in Washington, wrote last month:
“There is a struggle being fought on the ground in the Middle East. There is also a struggle being waged in the U.S. press — it is a fight for the hearts and minds of American public opinion. Arabs cannot afford to lose on either front. The media war is an uphill battle — but with commitment and aggressive strategy, it can be won.”
Then, in an incredible case of chutzpah, one of the major Arab lobbying groups, the Arab American Institute (AAI), issued a report last month charging that the American press is biased against Palestinians.
The report, “A Tale of Two Killings,” claims that the deaths of Israeli children, such as 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass and 13-year-old Kobi Mandell, were given much more press coverage and more sympathetic coverage than the deaths of 4-month-old Palestinian Iman Hijo and Palestinian teens.
The propaganda piece avoids the obvious differences: The Israelis were killed in cold blood in shockingly cruel and deliberate fashion. By contrast, Israelis never target Palestinian children, and Israel expressed profound sorrow over the accidental death of the Palestinian children. No such expression was ever heard from Palestinian sources, only a preposterous Palestinian claim that Shalhevet’s mother killed her own baby.
The AAI report is discredited precisely because of what it doesn’t discuss. There is no mention of Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old killed in October in Gaza crossfire. The boy became the media’s poster child, despite the likelihood that he was killed by Palestinian bullets. The video of the boy’s tragic death was replayed for weeks. His wounded father was interviewed on numerous occasions accompanied by the horrific pictures. How dare AAI claim that the media under-reports the death of Palestinian children.
The Arab American Institute will now use its report to intimidate the American media into toeing the Palestinian propaganda line.
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Concurrently, some Arab organizations have established operations that mirror HonestReporting. One organization promotes itself as dedicated to “countering myth, distortion, and spin from the Israeli media war machine.”
Another Arab organization appealed to its members to join “the Zionist group” HonestReporting, so that they can “know what our enemies are up to.” The group cautions: “Obviously, do not use any Arab-sounding names.”
Once these people “infiltrate” HonestReporting, they attempt to mobilize anti-Israel friends to counter your letters. For example, one Arab list had members send this out to The Guardian: “I strongly hope and expect that the retarded view of HonestReporting does not cloud your judgment, and that your writers will continue their excellent Middle East coverage.”
You can check these websites to see what the other side is up to:
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How will HonestReporting respond to these anti-Israel campaigns?
We will redouble our effort to provide you with factual and timely material. We will redouble our efforts to mobilize more and more activists devoted to fighting media bias.
Now how will you respond?
-Will you recruit more members of HonestReporting.com?
-Will you assist HonestReporting financially?
-Will you help us expand our Spanish, Italian, Russian and French coverage?
-Will you write letters to editors when you identify bias in your local paper?
HonestReporting cannot filter out the anti-Israel activists who sign up under aliases. We will simply beat them with the facts, and with the devotion, knowledge and activism of HonestReporting members.
You can also help to defray HonestReporting’s considerable research and manpower costs by sending a tax-deductible donation to:
Media Watch International
156 West 56th Street, Suite 1201
New York, NY 10019 USA
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias. Together, we will continue to make a difference.